Published: 04/12/2017

10 unconventional interview questions to ask candidates

Business Growth

We have covered questions which every business owner should ask but what about being a bit ‘left-field’ and being more unconventional in your approach? Why not give candidates different questions to answer. In all likelihood, they would have been asked similar questions from other companies - so why not mix things up a bit. You will get a much more from your interviewee by doing this then sticking with the standard generic approach.

Here are a few questions which will add an element of surprise to the interview process. We will start with something very unconventional…

"If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?"

Interviews can be intense, so this can be a fun way to break the ice and allow the candidate to relax. It’s also a nice question to demonstrate how resourceful the person is. If they can give you a good superpower, that makes sense, it will show that they are someone who has a good sense of logic.  We can't all be Superman so make sure that they are limited in this scenario.

"Pitch my company to me if I were buying the product as a consumer?"

How many candidates go to interviews without doing research on the company? We think a few will be guilty of this. So, what should you do? Ask a question they could only answer if they have looked at your company in advance. Firstly, it will demonstrate that they have not only looked at your website but actually understood what your business is trying to do. It will also show you that the candidate has a good grasp of who your target audience are.

"I see you worked at (Insert company name). What was it like working there and how did you fit into their overall culture?"

Really try and hone in on what this candidate is about. This type of question shows that you as a hirer want to know how the candidate will fit into your culture by assessing how they fitted into another company. It will show what they thought about their previous employer and if they may or may not be a good fit for your business. It also shows your interest in your candidate and their experiences.

"What does 'hard work' mean to you?"

As a small business owner, you will expect any new staff member to work hard and be a dedicated employee. You aren’t hiring someone learning their trade but rather a person who is experienced and ready to be thrown in at the deep end. With that in mind, you’ll want to know how they understand the notion of hard work. Because this candidate’s definition of what hard work means might be different to yours. Perhaps they look at it as working quickly and getting things done in time for the 5.30 “bell”. Whilst you might see hard work as getting important tasks done in whatever time it takes.

"Tell me what do you love?"

Another more indirect role related question, but also really useful in getting the candidate to feel at ease in an interview. It's a nice way just to see what they are passionate about outside of work. Maybe they are a history buff, a blog writer or perhaps they are currently training for an ironman tournament? If this person has lots of hobbies and interests they may provide good camaraderie for the office (we all need that from time to time). You might also find someone who might be eager to help create a good working environment that encourages team bonding and fun - if that's what you're looking to do.

David Goulden Copywriter
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